Nov. 26, 1999
CLEMSON, S.C. – From 103rd to 13th in Turnover Margin
One of the areas of improvement made by Coach Tommy Bowden and his staff is in the area of turnover margin. He stressed that as an area that needed improvement from his opening press conference. The daily reminders of putting the ball on the ground, or throwing interceptions has paid off.
Clemson ranks 13th in the nation in turnover margin. Clemson has forced 26 turnovers this year and committed just 17. That is a +9 in terms of the total turnover margin. For last year, Clemson was a -11 for the 11 games, so the numbers are almost reversed. This year Clemson has scored an even 100 points off turnovers, while the opposition has scored just 37 points. Three of Clemson’s interceptions have been deep passes at the end of the half, thus not allowing the opposition time to score. Clemson was 103rd in turnover margin last year, so that is a 90-place improvement.
Tigers Set ACC Record for Improvement
Clemson established an ACC record for improvement in the ACC standings this year. The Tigers were 1-7 and eighth in the final 1998 ACC standings, but improved to 5-3 and a tie for second in the final standings for 1999. Clemson is the first program in ACC history to improve by six places in the ACC standings from one year to another. Nine other programs made a five-place improvement in the ACC standings from one year to another, inlcuding Clemson in 1977.
Clemson has also made a four-game improvement in ACC wins from one year to another. It is just the fifth time in ACC history that a team made that big of a league victory jump. Only Georgia Tech and Coach George O’Leary, has made a five-game improvement, so Clemson’s improvement this year from one win to five, ties for second best in league history.
ACC Teams Who Have Made at least a 5-Place Improvement in League Standings
ACC Teams Who have Made an Improvement of 4 ACC Wins in Consecutive Seasons
Clemson Improved by Four Division I Wins over 1998
Clemson Head Coach Tommy Bowden led Clemson to six wins in the 1999 regular season, up from three overall wins and two Division I wins in 1998. The Clemson record for victory improvement in the victory column from one year to another is seven, set in 1948 when Frank Howard’s Tigers improved from a four-win season in 1947 to 11-0 record in 1948. Clemson’s National Championship team of 1981 made a six-game improvement from the 1980 season. Three times Clemson has improved by five wins over the previous year.
As far as first-year coaches are concerned, Tommy Bowden is the fifth Clemson head coach in history to make at least a three-game improvement in the victory column. A win in the bowl game would make him just the third to made at least a four-game improvement. Charley Pell brought Clemson to a five-game improvement in 1977 from the previous year, while Bob Williams brought Clemson a five-game improvement in 1909. Edward Donahue (1917) and Josh Cody (1927) also made three-game improvements.
First-year Improvements By Clemson Head Coaches
Clemson’s Improvement on Offense Significant
Clemson has made a significant improvement when it comes to offense this year. A comparison between the regular season this year with the per game averages of the 1998 season demonstrates a large improvement. Clemson has improved its touchdown total by 47 percent, its passing offense by 33.7 percent, its total offense by 32.4 percent, its first down figure by 43 percent.
What is especially interesting is that Clemson has done this with two different quarterbacks, Brandon Streeter has played just 18 quarters all year due to injury, while second-team quarterback Woodrow Dantzler played 26 quarters. Both quarterbacks have thrived in this offense, as both have had games of at least 350 yards of total offense. Streeter set the Clemson record for completion percentage (.677), while Dantlzer set the Clemson single season record for total offense per game (231.2)
Clemson Offense Comparison
Clemson Home Attendance Best since 1990
Clemson averaged 78,302 for its five home football games this year, Ticket Manager Van Hilderbrand announced at the conclusion of the season. The average was the highest for the Clemson program since the 1990 season and the fifth best in school history.
Clemson had a total of 391,510 fans attend the five home games and the average of 78,302 was an increase of 9,989 per game, the third largest increase in Clemson history. The Tigers averaged 68,313 in 1998 The figures for 1999 included 50,198 season tickets, an increase from the 46,541 sold in 1998.
The attendance figure included a crowd of 86,092 for the Florida State game on October 23rd, the highest in school history. The North Carolina game attracted 81,737 for homecoming, while the Marshall contest attracted 79,186. That was the third largest opening day attendance figure in school history. The final home game against Duke drew 77,573.
Clemson’s Single Season Average Attendance Bests
Clemson’s Largest Attendance Increases
Clemson Game by Game Attendance Figures, 1999
Clemson Has Had Two National Player of the Week Selections
Clemson has had a pair of National Player of the Week selections this year, the first time Clemson has had two different players honored with a National Player of the Week Award. Quarterback Brandon Streeter was named National Player of the Week by USA Today for his performance against Virginia in the second game of the season when he connected on 24-32 passes for 343 yards and two touchdowns. The yardage total was a Clemson single game record.
Streeter was the first Clemson offensive player to be named national player of the week by any service since 1966 when Jimmy Addison was named National Back of the Week by Associated Press for his 12-19-283 passing performance in Clemson’s 40-35 win over Virginia. The only other Clemson offensive player to win a national back of the week honor was earned by Harvey White for his performance at Vanderbilt in 1958.
In the final regular season game, Keith Adams was named National Defensive Player of the Week by the Bronko Nagurski Award. The Charlotte, NC based award picks a national defensive player of the year at the end of the season. Adams had a Clemson single game record 27 tackles, including 18 first hits and three sacks in the win over South Carolina.
Four times a Clemson defensive player has been named national defensive player of the week, all by Sports Illustrated.
Clemson National Player of the Week Honors
Carswell 11th in Nation in Interceptions Ties for ACC Interception Championship
Robert Carswell had his sixth interception of the season at Georgia Tech and he also had a fumble recovery. It was the third time this year that Carswell had two takeaways in the same game. His interception total is the most by a Clemson player since 1995 when Brian Dawkins had six. Dawkins is now a starter with the Philadelphia Eagles and is among the NFL leaders in interceptions with four.
Carswell is ranked 11th in the nation and tied for first in the ACC in interceptions per game with a 0.6 figure. He needs two more interceptions in the bowl game to tie Robert O’Neal’s record of eight set in 1989 and two more takeaways to tie O’Neal’s record for takeaways in a season. O’Neal had eight interceptions and a fumble recovery that year.
Carswell Set Record for Tackles by a Defensive Back
In addition to forcing turnovers, Carswell has been outstanding in the tackle department. He has 122 for the year to lead all ACC defensive backs and it is the highest total in Clemson history for a defensive back. Anthony Johnson had 117 tackles in 1985 and that was the record prior to Carswell’s 1999 season. Carswell now has 277 tackles for his career and needs just 18 tackles to break all-time great Terry Kinard’s record for tackles in a career by a defensive back. Kinard had 294 between 1978-82. Carswell now has 15 double digit tackle games in his career, including 10 in his last 13. He had 14 tackles, an interception and a fumble recovery at Georgia Tech.
Carswell Named to Good Works Team
On September 21, Robert Carswell was to the American Football Coaches Association Good Works Team for 1999. The team honors those student-athletes who show exceptional dedication to community service and to the betterment of the communities in which they live.
Carswell, a native of Lithonia, GA was one of just 11 Division I-A players selected to the team. He is the first Clemson player chosen for the team in its eight-year history. Carswell is one of the leaders of Leadership in Football and Education (LIFE), a group of Clemson football players who mentor and spend recreational time with underprivileged children. He is also a frequent speaker at local churches and elementary schools.
The Stone Mountain High School (GA) product is also an active member of the Clemson Athletes Outreach Program. Last year he received an Atlantic Coast Conference Top Six Award, an honor given to six student-athletes at each ACC school for helping others and volunteering time in the community.
The other 10 Division I-A players chosen to the AFCA Good Works Team were Dan Alexander (Nebraska), Corey Atkins (South Carolina), Wes Counts (Middle Tennessee State), Casey Crawford (Virginia), Haven Fields (Auburn), Curtis Fuller (TCU), Seth Hanson (Kentucky), Grant Irons (Notre Dame), Bill Marsau (Iowa State), and Dulymus McAlister (Mississippi).
Young, Carson Named Academic All-District
Kyle Young and Chad Carson, two mainstays of the Clemson football team, were named to the 1999 GTE Academic All-District team. The team is made up of players from Division I-A or Division I-AA teams from the states of Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia.
Clemson and Duke were the only ACC schools with two selections on the all-district III team. Carson, a linebacker from Newnan, GA, and Young, a center from Clemson, SC, are candidates for the Academic All-America team, which will be voted on and announced in December. This is the first time Clemson has ever had two players on the All-District III team who were sophomores in terms of eligibility.
Carson is a biological sciences major with a 3.9 GPA. He is a sophomore in football eligibility, but a junior in the classroom. On the field, he has 127 tackles this year, an average of 11.6 per game, third best in the ACC. He ranks second on the Clemson team and third in the ACC.
Young is a secondary education major and has a 3.96 career GPA. Like Carson, he is a junior academically and a sophomore athletically. Young is the starting center and highest graded offensive lineman on the Clemson team. He has started every game this year and has averaged 70 snaps per game. He also leads the team in knock down blocks with 62. His consistent play is one reason the Tigers have averaged 403 yards per game, third highest average in Clemson history.
Other ACC players on the All-District III team are Spencer Romine of Duke (quarterback), Sims Lenhardt of Duke (kicker), Chris Hope of Florida State, and Dan Dyke of Georgia Tech (punter).
Clemson Defense Has Faced the Best Quarterbacks
Clemson ranks second in the ACC and 19th in the nation in pass defense. The Tigers ranked 56th in the country in pass defense last year and had just seven interceptions. This year the interception total has improved to 19 and that total is currently tied for fifth best in the nation.
Clemson has achieved this improvement and high national ranking against a strong list of opposing quarterbacks. In fact, Clemson has faced five of the top eight, including each of the top three ranked quarterbacks in the nation in terms of passing efficiency. The list of quarterbacks who have faced Clemson this year are #1 ranked Joe Hamilton of Georgia Tech, #2 Chad Pennington of Marshall, #3 Michael Vick of Virginia Tech, #7 Chris Weinke of Florida State and #8 Dan Ellis of Virginia.
Those five quarterbacks have a combined passing efficiency figure this year of 160.4. Their combined efficiency against Clemson is just 120.5. They have combined to throw just six touchdown passes (five by Hamilton) and have thrown eight interceptions against Clemson. For the year, the five quarterbacks have thrown 110 touchdown passes. Only Hamilton has had a better passing efficiency against Clemson than his season average.
Clemson vs. the 5 of top 12 Quarterbacks in 1999
Tigers Have Faced Second Toughest Schedule All 3 Undefeated Teams
Clemson has faced the nation’s second toughest schedule according to the Jeff Sagarin computer rankings. The Clemson schedule includes games against the only three undefeated teams left in college football, Marshall, Florida State and Virginia Tech. As noted above, Clemson has faced five of the top 12 quarterbacks in the nation and also three of the top 20 rushers (Thomas Jones of Virginia, Lamont Jordan of Maryland and Shyrone Stith of Virginia Tech).
Clemson is also the only school in the nation to face three of the five quarterbacks nationally who are in their fourth year as starting quarterbacks. Chad Pennington of Marshall, Jamie Barnette of NC State and Joe Hamilton of Georgia Tech are all in their fourth years. All three defeated Clemson this year.
Clemson has a 6-5 overall record, but is still held in respect by the Sagarin poll. Clemson is ranked 17th in the nation in the overall rankings by Sagarin, the only team in the top 30 in the country that does not have a winning record. Obviously the schedule ranking has a lot to do with that.
Clemson played the three undefeated teams very well this year. Florida State defeated Clemson 17-14 this year on October 23, the closest margin of victory for Bobby Bowden’s team. Marshall defeated Clemson 13-10, also the closest game of the year for the Thundering Herd. Virginia Tech defeated Clemson 31-11, but the game was 17-11 with four minutes left. Virginia Tech scored two defensive touchdowns in the last four minutes.
Cyrgalis Active at Tight End
Pat Cyrgalis led Clemson in receiving at Georgia Tech with a career high four catches for a career high 58 yards and his second touchdown of the seaosn. His 18-yard touchdown reception in the first half from Woodrow Dantzler was just the second touchdown reception by a Clemson tight end in the decade of the 1990s.
Cyrgalis, a freshman from New Jersey, had four catches in the Tech game, the most by a Clemson tight end since Lamont Hall had 4-44 receiving at Wake Forest in 1997. It was the first time a Clemson tight end had led Clemson in receiving in a game since 1992, ironically at Georgia Tech, when Ty Gibson led the Tigers with 2-37 receiving. It was the most reception yards by a Clemson tight end since Jim Riggs had 3-83 and a touchdown against Georgia in 1985. For the year Cyrgalis has 10 catches for 131 yards and two touchdowns.
Speck Sets Clemson Record
Chad Speck established a Clemson single game record at Georgia Tech for special teams tackles. The junior from Tennessee had seven special teams tackles, four first hits and three assists. Three of his tackles were on punt coverage and four were on kickoff return coverage. He broke the record of six special teams tackles in a game by Arthur Bussie against Long Beach State in 1990. Speck now has 16 special teams tackles this year, tops on the Clemson team.
Adams Named First-Team All-American by Football News
Clemson linebacker Keith Adams has been named a first-team Football News All-American, the publication announced on November 23. Adams came from virtual obscurity to set five Clemson records in this his sophomore season. His selection gives Clemson at least one All-American 23 of the last 24 seasons.
Additionally, the publication announced its five finalists for National Defensive Player of the Year. Adams was among those finalists along with Corey Moore of Virginia Tech, Courtney Brown of Penn State, Julian Peterson of Michigan State and Corey Simon of Florida State.
Adams, a native of College Park, GA is just the fourth sophomore in Clemson history to be chosen to any All-America team, just the second first-team selection as a sophomore. Anthony Simmons was chosen first-team All-American as a sophomore by the Sporting News in 1996. William Perry (3rd team AP in 1982), and Nelson Welch (3rd team AP in 1992) are the only other sophomores to make any All-America team in school history.
Adams had the numbers worthy of All-America honors. He set Clemson single season records for tackles for loss (33) and sacks (16) and needs just three tackles to break Simmons record for tackles in a season. Adams has 176 in 11 games, two short of the total Simmons had in a 12-game 1996 season.
He also set three single game Clemson records this year. He accumulated a record 27 tackles in Clemson’s season ending victory over South Carolina. He also set the school record for sacks in a game with four against Duke and for tackles for loss with six against North Carolina. Five times he was named ACC Defensive Player of the Week, more than any other league player regardless of position.
Adams Sets ACC Tackle for Loss Record
Clemson sophomore inside linebacker Keith Adams set an ACC record for tackles for loss this year with 33. He had four against Georgia Tech, giving him 33 for the year, six better than the previous mark held by Clemson’s William Perry (1984) and Rob Bodine (1991).
Adams had a Clemson single game record six tackles for loss against Duke on November 6, a Clemson record for a single game. The only other players in ACC history to reach at least 25 tackles for loss in a season are Ron Simmons of Florida State in 1977 and Mike McCrary of Wake Forest in 1992.
Adams had four sacks among his six tackles for loss against Duke and that was also a Clemson single game record. The three sacks against South Carolina give him 16 for the season. Adrian Dingle had 10.5 sacks last year and that had been the single season mark, so he shattered the single game record by over 60 percent. The nearest ACC player to Adams in terms of sacks this year was 10, so he had 60 percent more sacks than any other ACC player.
Adams now has 176 tackles for the season, an average of 16 per game. The Clemson record for tackles per game over a season is 14.83 by Anthony Simmons in 1996, so Adams is ahead of that record. He needs just three tackles in the bowl game to break Simmons single season record of 178 in 1996.
ACC Single Season Tackles for Loss Bests
Adams National Defensive Player of the Year Candidate
Sophomore linebacker Keith Adams is one of five finalists for the Football News National Defensive Player-of-the-Year award. Adams, who is in his first year as a starter, has totaled at least 11 tackles and one tackle-for-loss in every game against the toughest schedule in the country according to the Sagarin Rating. He has also been named ACC Defensive Lineman-of-the-Week four times this season. Ironically, all four selections have been for performances in ACC home games.
Adams is one of seven linebackers and joins Alex Brown (DE, Florida) as the only two sophomores to make the list. Other semi-finalists include LaVar Arrington (LB, Penn State, Jr.), Courtney Brown (DE, Penn State, Sr.), Tyrone Carter (S, Minnesota, Sr.), Na’il Diggs (LB, Ohio State, Jr.), Deon Grant (DB, Tennessee, Jr.), Julius Jackson (LB, Nebraska, Sr.), Corey Moore (DE, Virginia Tech, Sr.), Julian Peterson (LB, Michigan State, Sr.), Corey Simon (DT, Florida State, Sr.), Mark Simoneau (LB, Kansas State, Sr.), Adalius Thomas (DE, Southern Mississippi, Sr.), Brian Urlacher (S, New Mexico, Sr.), and Nate Webster (LB, Miami (FL), Jr.).
Clemson Award Finalists or Semifinalists
Adams Enhancing Linebacker Tradition
Clemson has a strong tradition of excellence at the linebacker position. The Tigers have seven former linebackers on NFL rosters this year, including Pro Bowl players Ed McDaniel (Minnesota) and Levon Kirkland (Pittsburgh) and 1997 first round draft choice Anthony Simmons (Seattle). Clemson also has had first round draft choice Wayne Simmons (1992 by Green Bay) in the 1990s and all-time great Jeff Davis, the captain of the National Championship team.
Current linebacker Keith Adams, only a sophomore, is striving to enhance that linebacker reputation by his play so far this season. He is on a pace to have the finest season in Clemson history for a linebacker, never mind just a sophomore. Through 11 games, Adams has 176 tackles, an average of 16 per game, best in the ACC.
Adams had at least one sack in each of the first five games this year, tying Chester McGlockton’s record for consecutive games with a sack. McGlockton did it in 1989-90. The Maryland game is the only game this year in which he failed to record a quarterback sack, but he has had at least one tackle for loss in every game.
Comparison of Sophomore Seasons
Clemson Single Season Tackles Bests
Landmark Accomplishments in Clemson victory over Duke
Gardner First 1000-yard Receiver
Clemson receiver Rod Gardner set two Clemson single season records and became the school’s first 1000-yard receiver in Clemson’s season ending victory over South Carolina in Columbia on November 20. Gardner had six catches for 138 yards and two scores in the game. His final catch broke the backs of the Gamecock faithful. On a fourth-and-10 play from the Clemson 29, Woodrow Dantzler lobbed the ball to Gardner in the enzone. The native of Jacksonville came down with it and a 31-21 Clemson lead.
It was the first time Gardner has had two touchdown receptions in a game and the 138 receiving yards were a career high. Gardner now has 73 receptions for 1009 yards, Clemson single season marks in both areas. Tony Horne hed the reception record with 70 in 1997 and Perry Tuttle held the reception yardage record of 915 yards in 1980.
Gardner is now 16th in the nation in receptions per game with a 6.6 figure. That is second best in the ACC. His yardage average of 91.7 is 22nd best in the nation. One of the greatest examples of Clemson’s improvement in the passing games is the existence of three Tigers ranked among the top 12 receivers in the ACC. Rod Gardner (2), Brian Wofford (4) and Mal Lawyer (12) are all in the top 12. Wofford, who finished the regular season with 54 catches, finished fourth in the ACC and had the fourth best single season reception total in Clemson history. This is the first time in history that Clemson has had two players on the same team reach 40 catches in the same year, never mind 50.
Top Clemson Single Season Reception Totals
Clemson Top Reception Yardage Seasons
Top Receptions/Game Figures
Here is a list of Clemson players who have ranked in the final top 25 in the nation in receiving:
Gardner Tied Record vs. Marshall
Clemson wide receiver Rod Gardner tied one all-time Clemson record and set two others in the season opener against Marshall. The junior from Jacksonville, FL caught 11 passes for 111 yards. That is a lot of ones for his night’s work, and that effort has led to his number-one ranking among the receivers in the ACC. He has had at least six catches in every game this year.
Gardner’s opening day performance tied the Clemson single game mark held by Phil Rogers, who had 11 receptions at North Carolina in 1965. Gardner’s performance was the most ever for a Tiger in Death Valley (58 years) and the most ever by a Clemson player in the opening game of the season.
Seven times a Clemson player has had 10 catches in a game. Gardner did it again against Duke on November 6 when he had 10 for 122. Tony Horne did it twice in his 70-reception season of 1997, while Perry Tuttle had a pair of 10-catch games, one in 1980 and one in 1981. Hank Walker was the first Clemson receiver to have a double-digit reception game, as he had 10 against Auburn in 1947. Charlie Waters, more famous for his exploits as an NFL defensive back, had 10 catches against Alabama in 1969.
Tiger Offense Breaks Season Passing Yardage Mark
Clemson passed for 2713 yards this season, an all-time Clemson record and there is still another game to play. The 1997 Clemson team, behind quarterback Nealon Greene, threw for 2299 yards and that was the previous best. Last year’s Clemson team threw for 2030 and those are the only other teams over 2000 yards in a season for the Tigers.
Clemson has reached this level with two quarterbacks throwing for over 1000 yards. Brandon Streeter has passed for 1165 yards, while Woodrow Dantzler has 1501 yards passing. This is the first time in Clemson history that two different quarterbacks have thrown for over 1000 yards. Clemson is also on a record pace in terms of completion percentage. The Tigers stand at 61.9 percent so far this year, ahead of the single season record of 60.5 in 1997.
The Tigers have also already set the record for 200-yard passing games in a season. Clemson has nine this year, two more than the 1997 team had.
Clemson Averaging Over 400 Yards Per Game
With the 425 yards of total offense against South Carolina , Clemson improved its total offense average to 403.6 for the season. If the season ended today that would be third best in Clemson history. Only two Clemson teams have averaged 400 yards a game over the course of a season. The 1978 Clemson team averaged 427.8 yards a game and the 1991 Clemson team averaged 404 per game.
Clemson has had six different games in which it has gained at least 400 yards total offense. That includes two games with 500 yards or more. This is the first time since 1992 that Clemson had a 500-yard total offense game.
Zachery Nears touchdown Mark
Travis Zachery had a breakout game against Duke. The sophomore picked up 141 yards rushing on 17 attempts and scored four touchdowns. He became just the sixth player in Clemson history to score four touchdowns in a game, the first since Emory Smith against Wake Forest in 1995.
Zachery had three more scores at Georgia Tech and two more at South Carolina and now has 16 touchdowns for the season and has jumped from nowhere to 8th in the country in scoring. He is fourth in the ACC and 41st in the nation in rushing with 80.2 yards a game. He is also now returning punts and has caught 17 passes out of the backfield. He ranks first on the team in all-purpose yards per game at 104.3.
Zachery needs just one touchdown in the bowl game to tie Lester Brown’s single season record for touchdowns. Brown had 17 in 1978, all rushing.
Jolly Scores on Interception Return
Junior tackle Terry Jolly became the first Clemson lineman in 34 years to return an interception for a touchdown when he rambled 20 yards with a Duke pass attempt on November 6. It was the first time since 1964 that a lineman had accomplished the feat. Ted Bunton had a 48-yard interception return against Virginia for a score.
Jolly has been coming on strong of late and now leads Clemson defensive linemen in tackles and tackles for loss. He has 56 stops for the year, tied for fifth on the team. He also has 10 tackles for loss for 37 yards, second on the team behind Keith Adams monster total of 33. Jolly had a career high 11 tackles at Wake Forest, most by a Clemson defensive lineman this year. He also had eight tackles, seven first hits, at Georgia Tech. He had two tackles for loss and a sack in the win over Duke to go with his interception return. He also had a fine game at NC State with nine tackles, three behind the line of scrimmage.
Odd But True
Clemson ended its odd game jinx with the 58-7 win over Duke. Clemson had lost every odd numbered game this year prior to the win in game 9 against Duke.
This streak went against Clemson’s success in odd numbered seasons in recent years. Clemson has been to a bowl game or won at least nine games in every odd numbered season since 1977. Clemson has kept that odd streak alive this year.
This odd success rate is even more prevalent in the last eight years. Over the last five odd numbered seasons, Clemson is 39-19-1, a 67 percent winning percentage. Clemson has been to a bowl game each year and can clinch one for 1999 with a win on Saturday. Over the last four even numbered years, Clemson is just 20-25, a 44.4 percent winning percentage. Clemson has been to a bowl game just one of the last four even numbered seasons.
Polite Breaks Season PBU Record
One of the most improved players on the Clemson defense this year has been cornerback Dextra Polite. The senior from Moultrie,GA has 16 passes broken up to lead the team, and that is an all-time Clemson record. Five times previously a Clemson player had recorded 15 PBUs in a season. The list includes former NFL players Delton Hall (1985), Ty Davis (184), Donnell Woolford (1987 and 1988) and Antwan Edwards (1997).
He had three against South Carolina to set the record. It was the third time this year he had three PBUs in a game.
Polite provided two of the biggest defensive plays of the season in the win at Wake Forest. First, he made a solo tackle on top Wake Forest rusher Morgan Kane at the one-yard line that prevented a touchdown on a second-and-goal play. Clemson ended up limiting Wake Forest to a field goal, thus that was a four-point tackle.
Then, after Clemson had taken a 5-3 lead, Polite made a one-handed interception at midfield and returned it 27 yards. Clemson converted the turnover into a touchdownd that salted the game away. He was named ACC Defensive Back of the Week for that performance.
Polite has four interceptions for the season. He was outstanding against Florida State, recording three passes broken up and an interception. He was in charge of defending Peter Warrick most of the night. Although Warrick caught 11 passes, he averaged only 11 yards a catch and never had a gain over 19 yards. For the year, Polite has 49 tackles, 16 passes broken up and four interceptions.
Final Game for Clemson seniors
Clemson’s 11 seniors are heading down the home stretch with just bowl game remaining. This is the smallest senior class at Clemson since the 1985 season when the Tigers also had 11. Of the 11 seniors listed below, just seven are on scholarship. This list does not include Terry Witherspoon, who could return to Clemson for the 2000 season if he graduates this summer.
This year’s senior class features Brandon Streeter, who has established nine Clemson passing records in his career. Brian Wofford and Mal Lawyer are both ranked in the top eight in Clemson history in receptions, while DoMarco Fox has been a starting defender for three years and has been among the team’s top five tacklers three years in a row.
As a team, this class has helped Clemson to three bowl games. Another highlight has been two second place finishes in the ACC, 1996 and 1999. The seniors have also won three of four games over rival South Carolina.
Clemson Senior Class
Clemson Led ACC in Sacks
C lemson led the ACC in sacks last year with 40 and the Tigers hold the same standing in the league so far this year. In fact, Clemson has equalled that figure this year with 46 through the 11 regular season games. Keith Adams is the leader in that area with 16 for 122 lost yards. That is a Clemson single season record. Fourteen other players have contributed to the sack total this year.
Clemson had eight sacks against Duke. That was the most sacks by the Tigers in a single game since Trevor Pryce and the Tigers had eight in a victory over Maryland in 1996. Clemson averaged 3.6 sacks a game last year in leading the ACC. Clemson averages 4.4 sacks per game so far this year.
The 46 sacks this year have tied the record of 46 for a season set in 1992 and 1996. It is interesting to note that linebacker coach Reggie Herring has been a common denominator on two of the top three sack teams in Clemson history.
Three Tiger Tacklers Over 120 Tackles
Three players have led Clemson in tackles all year and all three average over 11 stops per game. No team in Clemson history has finished the year with three players averaging at least 11 tackles per game. Keith Adams (16.0), Chad Carson (11.6), and Robert Carswell (11.1) are all averaging in double figures this year and all three already have over 120 tackles this year. All three rank among the top four tacklers in the ACC.
All three were in double figures at Wake Forest when Clemson had one of its best defensive performances of the season. Carson had a career high 16 tackles, while Adams had 13. Carswell had 10 stops from his safety position. They are certainly the leaders of the Clemson defense. No other Tiger has even recorded 65 tackles this season.
Defense Outstanding vs. Florida State
Although Clemson suffered a loss to Florida State on October 23rd, it might have been the best performance of the year by the Clemson defense. When you take into account what Florida State averages per game and what they produced against the Tigers, it was the top game of the year for Clemson’s point prevention unit.
Florida State had just 17 points, one touchdown and just 3.9 yards per play against Clemson. Bobby Bowden’s team came into the game averaging 40 points, 4.7 touchdowns and six yards per play. The Tigers were also outstanding on special teams, holding the Seminoles to 6.5 yards per punt return.
Clemson’s defense continued its fine place at Wake Forest, holding the Deacons to just 128 yards passing and 239 yards of total offense. Wake Forest did not score a touchdown and scored just three total points. The Deacs had just 13 first downs and had three turnovers and three sacks against them.
Here is a chart that documents Clemson’s defensive performance against the Seminoles
Romano Makes Contribution
Clemson punter Ryan Romano is quietly having a consistent and effective season. He might have had his best all-around game a against Florida State when he had eight punts for a 42.3 average. He averaged 46.2 yards a punt at Wake Forest and now has averaged at least 42 yards a punt in four of his last six games.
He had a career long 60-yarder againstFlorida State, and two punts inside the 20. Even more impressive is that he held Florida State, one of the most dangerous return teams in the nation, featuring All-American Peter Warrick. Warrick had just 2-10 in punt returns and FSU had just 4-26, meaning Romano had a 39-yard net punting figure for the evening.
Romano showed his all-around football abilities in the Florida State game when he completed a 23-yard pass on a fake punt to Braxton K. Williams, a play on fourth down that led to a Clemson touchdown.
Romano comes from an athletic family. His older brother Eric was a walk-on tight end at Florida State i nthe 1980s. Older brother Todd was a kicker for Iowa between 1991-95 and his brother Chad was a punter at Kansas State between 1992-96. His father was also a running back at Florida State.
Romano, who is studying to be a doctor and has been on the ACC Academic Honor roll each of his first three years at Clemson, has averaged 40.1 yards a boot this year and has a net figure of 35.4. He has 12 punts inside the 20 and 10 over 50. He has just five touchbacks against those 11 punts inside the 20.
Non-Quarterbacks 5-5 Passing
Ryan Romano is one of three non-quarterbacks to attempt a pass this year. Five times on trick plays this year Coach Tommy Bowden has called some type of a pass from a kicker, holder or a receiver and they have worked for completions all four times. Rod Gardner is 2-2, Tony Lazzara is 1-1 for a nine-yard touchdown, Tucker Hamrick is 1-1 Romano is 1-1. The non-quarterbacks are now 5-5 for 47 yards and a touchdown. That computes to a 281.2 efficiency rating.
Witherspoon Ranked Second Among Fullbacks
Clemson fullback Terry Witherspoon is ranked as the number-two senior fullback in the country available for the NFL draft according to the Sporting News. Witherspoon is ranked second behind Sammy Morris of Texas Tech and just ahead of Deon Dyer of North Carolina. Witherspoon has 14 rushes for 39 yards and one touchdown this season.
Witherspoon’s status for the draft will not be known until the summer. As a partial qualifier out of high school, he could come back to Clemson for another season of eligibility if he graduates this summer. He is on track to do that and could take that option.
Clemson Starts a Young Team
Clemson starts one of the youngest teams in the nation. The Tigers start just three seniors on defense, Damonte McKenzie (DT), DoMarco Fox (SS) and Dextra Polite (CB). On offense, the only seniors are wide receivers Brian Wofford and Mal Lawyer. Thus, Clemson should have 17 starters back next year, nine on offense and eight on defense. This is the fewest seniors starting over the course of a season since 1994 when Clemson started just one senior on offense and four on defense.
Of Clemson’s top 48 players on offense and defense, only seven are seniors. Fourteen are freshmen, 17 are sophomores, 12 are juniors and seven are seniors.
Clemson Breakdown of Top 48 Players
In the regular season many Clemson single game or miscellaneous individual records records have been set:
Single Game Passing Yardage: 343 by Brandon Streeter vs. Virginia
Singe Game Total Offense: 435 by Woodrow Dantzler vs. Maryland
Single Game Rushing by quarterback: 183 by Woodrow Dantzler vs. Maryland
Single Game Completions: *27 by Brandon Streeter vs. Virginia Tech
Single Game Receptions: *11 by Rod Gardner vs. Marshall
Season Receptions: 73 by Rod Gardner
Season Reception Yards: 1009 by Rod Gardner
Most Completions 3 Consecutive Games: 74 by Brandon Streeter
Completion Percentage, Season: 67.7 by Brandon Streeter
Most Tackles for Loss, single game: *6 by Keith Adams vs. Duke
Most Sacks in a single game: 4 by Keith Adams vs. Duke
Most Tackles for loss in a season: 33 by Keith Adams
Most Tackles in a game: 27 by Keith Adams vs. South Carolina
Most Tackles, season by Defensive Back: 122 by Robert Carswell
Special Teams Tackles in a Game: 7 by Chad Speck at Georgia Tech
Most Sacks in a season: 16 by Keith Adams
Most Consecutive Games with a Sack: *5 by Keith Adams
*Denotes tied record
Top 25 Players Announced
This year the Clemson sports information department conducted a poll of the top 25 Clemson football players of the 20th Century. Players were announced five at a time in decending order in each home football program. A 28-person panel selected the team. They voted for their top 25 players with each selection receiving a corresponding point total 1-25, just as the AP conducts its football poll each week.
Banks McFadden was ranked first. He was rated number-one on 19 of the 28 ballots. No other player was listed first on more than three ballots. The committee, which was made up of former players and administrators who followed the Clemson program at least 20 years, did an outstanding job in the selection process.
The players were distributed fairly equally by position and at least one player from each decade from 1930-90 was selected. It is easy to see what the committee feels is the most talented team in Clemson history. Nine of the 25 players listed were members of the 1978 Clemson team. Six of the top 25 were on the 1981 National Championship team. There were four running backs, four linebackers, four receivers, three offensive linemen, three defensive linemen, three defensive backs, three quarterbacks and one kicker chosen.
Here is the final list of the Top 25 Clemson Players of the Century:
Clemson Unbeaten when over 200 Rushing and Passing
Clemson had 319 yards rushing and 239 yards passing in the victory over Duke on November 6. It was the third time this year Clemson has had at least 200 yards rushing and 200 yard passing in the same game. Clemson also did it in victories over North Carolina and Maryland Having at least 200 yards passing and 200 yards rushing in the same game is an indicator for success for the Clemson offense. The Tigers are now 29-0-1 in their history (11-0 in the decade of the 1990s when having at least 200 yards of each.
The only time in history Clemson failed to gain victory when recording at least 200 yards rushing and passing took place in 1976 when the Tigers had 248 yards rushing and 234 yards passing in a 24-24 tie with Georgia Tech. The closest Clemson has come to a defeat in this situation took place in 1953 when Clemson lost to Auburn, 45-19. Despite the large margin of defeat, Clemson had 258 yards passing and 198 yards rushing.
Achieving this balance was a hallmark of Tommy Bowden teams at Tulane. In fact, last year Tulane averaged 300 yards passing and 200 yards rushing, the only school in the nation to do it. In his two years and 22 games as head coach at Tulane, Tommy Bowden’s Green Wave teams had at least 200 yards of each in nine games, and they were 9-0 in those games.
Fans think of Clemson as a passing team, now with this new Indy 500 Offense under Bowden and offensive coordinator Rich Rodriguez. In the 42-30 win over Maryland, Clemson ran the ball 56 times and threw it just 23 times. Clemson had 52 rushes against Duke. Clemson’s 290 yards rushing were its high total since gaining 291 on the ground against NC State in 1996. Clemson scored six rushing touchdwons in the game, its high mark since scoring six rushing against Long Beach State in 1990.
Young, Smith Lead Young Offensive Line
Clemson’s young and light offensive line made large improvement against Maryland. That was obvious by the offensive production. The Tigers gained 542 yards total offense, its high total in seven years. Akil Smith was Clemson’s top offensive lineman in the win over Maryland. He graded 85 percent for his 81 plays of action and had a season high 11 knockdown blocks. He graded 85 percent with 11 more knockdowns in just 64 plays against Duke.
Kyle Young is just a sophomore, but is the most experienced of the linemen. The native of Clemson is the brother of former Clemson All-ACC guard Will Young and the grandson of former Tiger Ed McClendon. Young graded 85 percent for his 66 snaps against North Carolina and had seven knockdown blocks.
Clemson’s offensive line averages 261 pounds per man, but they are in good physical condition. Many of the starters have gone the distance this season. Young has eight complete games. John McDermott, starting tackle, actually has gone the distance in nine of 11 games so far this season, the only Tiger on the entire team who can make that claim. Akil Smith has seven complete games.
Guard Theo Mougros has gone the route in eight of the 11 games. T.J. Watkins, who starts at guard after playing tackle the first three games this year and tight end last year, has played every snap in one game and missed just one snap in another. Will Merritt, returned to action against Duke after suffering a broken collarbone on September 17. All five starters on the offensive line are underclassmen, three are sophomores (Young, Smith and Watkins).
Clemson Football Graduation Rate Cited by AFCA
The Clemson football program cited this past summer by the American Football Coaches Association for a graduation rate of over 70 percent. For the class entering in the fall of 1993, Clemson had a 75 percent graduation rate. The national average was 56 percent.
“We congratulate our student-athletes first,” said Athletic Director Bobby Robinson. “We also feel this is a testimony to the efforts of our coaches and Bill D’Andrea’s staff at the Department of Student-Athlete Enrichment Programs.
“We have seen consistent improvement in the academic performance of our football program and all of our athletic teams in recent years since we built Vickery Hall in 1991. We are pleased with these results and our inclusion on this prestigious list.”
Clemson’s program is in good shape to earn future citations from the AFCA. Fourteen of the 18 seniors (78 percent) on Clemson’s 1998 team will have their degrees by August 7. The only four seniors on the 1998 team who have not yet earned their degrees are currently members of NFL teams.
This past spring the Clemson football team had a team GPA of 2.38, its highest on record for a semester, and 24 members of the squad were on the academic honor roll. Thirteen members of the team had a GPA over 3.00 for the year and will be named to the ACC Academic Honor roll in July. That list includes starting center Kyle Young who had a perfect 4.0 for the year. Quarterback Brandon Streeter, who already has his undergraduate degree, is also on that list.
Clemson is one of five ACC schools to make the list of honored schools. The other ACC schools with a graduation rate of at least 70 percent were Duke, Virginia, Wake Forest and North Carolina. Duke was honored as the national champion with a 100 percent rate for the class that entered in 1993. It is the 12th time in the 19 year history of the award that an ACC school has had the highest graduation rate. The ACC had 55 percent of its conference members on the list, the highest percentage in the nation.
Tigers Not Nocturnal
If you see disappointment on the faces of Clemson coaches and administrators when a Tiger game is moved to a night kickoff due to television you might check Clemson’s record in the decade of the 1990s to see why a frown appears. In the decade of the 1990s Clemson has a 27 percent winning percentage in night games and a 65 percent winning mark in day games. Clemson is just 5-14 in night games in the decade and 64-32-1 in day games. Clemson is 69-46-1 overall.
This year has continued that trend. Clemson is 6-1 in day games and 0-4 in night games in 1999.
Clemson’s Bowl History
Clemson has a rich bowl tradition. The Tigers have a 12-10 record in bowl games and the .545 winning percentage is 13th best in NCAA history. Clemson’s 12 bowl victories rank in a tie for 20th in NCAA history . This will be Clemson’s 23rd bowl appearance. Clemson’s first bowl appearance was in the 1940 Cotton Bowl when the Tigers defeated Frank Leahy and Boston College 6-3.
This will be Clemson’s 12th bowl game since 1985, a 15-year period. Clemson has six bowl victories in this 1985-96 time period, tied for seventh best in the nation.
Clemson has some bowl wins over some of the greatest coaches in college football history:
Clemson’s Bowl History (12-10)
Winningest Bowl Teams ( Percentage Basis, min 15 games)
First Year Clemson Coaches 5-1 in Bowls
Clemson Head Coach Tommy Bowden will be making his first appearance in a bowl game as Tiger Head Coach. In fact, it will be his first bowl game as head coach. Clemson head coaches have had success in their first bowl game as Tiger head coach. In fact, the previous six Clemson head coach who have led the Tigers into a bowl game are 5-1 combined in their first bowl game. The only Clemson coach to lose his first bowl game was Charley Pell, who was defeated in 1977 by Pittsburgh in the Gator Bowl.
Two Clemson coaches have actually coached their first game for the Tigers in a bowl game. Danny Ford did that in 1978 and beat Woody Hayes and Ohio State. Tommy West coached against Kentucky in the 1993 Peach Bowl and defeated Bill Curry. That was the only bowl game West won in four bowl appearances.
Clemson Assistant Coaches Have Bowl Experience
Clemson’s nine assistant coaches and head coach Tommy Bowden have coached in a combined 57 bowl games entering this year’s bowl game. Only two of the coaches have coached for Clemson in a bowl game. This will be Rick Stockstill’s’s eight bowl game as a Clemson assistant, while it will be the fifth for defensive coordinator Reggie Herring. Overall, it will be the 14th for Herring in his coaching career.
The only coach on the Clemson staff to serve as a head coach in a bowl game is Brad Scott. He led South Carolina to its only bowl win in history when he defeated West Virginia in the 1994 Carquest Bowl. All of Clemson’s assistant coaches but Scott played in a bowl game as a college player.
*Includes one bowl (win) as head coach of South Carolina
Bowden To Coach in Ninth Bowl
Clemson Head Coach Tommy Bowden will coach in his ninth bowl game of his career, but his first at Clemson and his first as the head coach. He guided Tulane to a perfect 11-0 regular season last year, but resigned as the Green Waves Head Coach shortly after the regular season in order to start his Clemson career. He did not coach Tulane in its Liberty Bowl victory over Brigham Young. However, assistant coaches Rich Rodriguez, Ron West, Thielen Smith and Burton Burns all were on the sidelines for Tulane in that game.
Bowden coached in three bowls as an assistant at Florida State, three as an assistant at Alabama and two as an assistant at Auburn for a total of eight previous bowls. His teams are 4-4 in those games. The last time Bowden coached in a bowl game was 1996 when Auburn defeated Army, 33-29 in the Independence Bowl.
Tommy Bowden’s Bowl History
Clemson Bowl Experience Clemson has 16 players on its active roster for this bowl game who have played in a bowl game previously for Clemson. The list includes four players who have played in two bowl games, Mal Lawyer, Brian Wofford, DoMarco Fox and Damonte McKenzie. McKenzie played in the 1995 Gator Bowl against Syracuse and the fifth-year senior is the only active Tiger who played in that game. He also played against Auburn in the 1998 Peach Bowl. Wofford and Fox join Robert Carswell as the only Clemson players to start in a bowl game. All three of those players started against Terry Bowden’s Auburn team in the 1998 Peach Bowl. Twelve active Clemson players have played in one bowl game, the Peach Bowl against Auburn at the conclusion of the 1997 season. Those 12 players include Theo Mougros (OG), Rod Gardner (WR), Mike Seth (WR), Terry Witherspoon (FB), Kenzi Ross (LB), Dextra Polite (CB), Chad Speck (FS), Terry Bryant (DE), Jason Holloman (DT), Terry Jolly (DT), David Evans (CB) and Robert Carswell (FS). The only active Tigers to score a touchdown in a bowl game are Chad Speck and Terry Witherspoon. Both of the scores came against Auburn in the 1998 Peach Bowl. Speck scored on an 18-yard blocked punt return, while Witherspoon scored on a two-yard run. Rod Gardner had a 27-yard reception in the contest, while Mail Lawyer had 1-6 receiving and Brian Wofford 2-5. Wofford had 1-9 receiving against LSU in the 1996 Peach Bowl, the only active Tiger with a reception in two different bowl games.
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